9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[tahr-paw-lin, tahr-puh-lin] /tɑrˈpɔ lɪn, ˈtɑr pə lɪn/
a protective covering of canvas or other material waterproofed with tar, paint, or wax.
a hat, especially a sailor's, made of or covered with such material.
Rare. a sailor.
Origin of tarpaulin
1595-1605; earlier tarpauling. See tar1, pall1, -ing1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tarpaulin
  • Blue tarpaulin and chain-link fences are coming down.
  • Mineral sands, such as zircon, sit under a tarpaulin.
  • Or spread tarpaulin at dropping time, knock off all fruit, and dispose of it.
  • Many will remain in tents and under tarpaulin construction of any kind.
  • Many refugees are sheltering under makeshift tarpaulin structures.
  • The hole in the ship was later covered with a white tarpaulin.
  • It would go on top of the wood fire blazing inside the blue tarpaulin that makes the walls of his home.
  • Dead needles must be shaken out and the trees must be shipped either in an enclosed truck or covered with a tarpaulin.
  • Along the side motorcycles are parked under a tarpaulin.
  • It has a buckboard wide enough for two, a tarpaulin cover and room in the back for four people to sit or stretch out.
British Dictionary definitions for tarpaulin


a heavy hard-wearing waterproof fabric made of canvas or similar material coated with tar, wax, or paint, for outdoor use as a protective covering against moisture
a sheet of this fabric
a hat of or covered with this fabric, esp a sailor's hat
a rare word for seaman
Word Origin
C17: probably from tar1 + pall1 + -ing1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tarpaulin

c.1600, from tar (n.1) + palling, from pall "heavy cloth covering" (see pall (n.)); probably so called because the canvas is sometimes coated in tar to make it waterproof.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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